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Title: Loser In The End
Composer: Roger Taylor
Album: Queen II, 5t track
Key: A Major with bluesy inflection, D Major
| Intro | Verse - Chorus |
| Verse - Chorus | Solo 1 |
| Bridge | Verse'- Chorus | Solo 2 - Outro |
This is the most simple song of the album: only four chords, more ore less square phrasing throughout. In spite it's easy to play, they have never performed it live. Thematically it does not fits the album very well, and this must be behind many critics the song gets. What can we do, Roger was not keen on the fairy tale imagery. In spite of this, the song is quite listenable and musically no worse (and not better) than most glam rock tracks of that era.
The verse-riff (shades "Children Of The Revolution" by T-Rex, and "Sparks" by The Who) and the arrangement with its vibrating chorus-effect used on the guitar are primarly responsible for the song's glam-rock feeling. In fact the guitar does not sound very close to the classic Red Special tone at all.
The songform is the one bridge modell with solo sections added with different chord progression from the vocal sections. The only twist in the songform is that the last Verse is shortened.
It is "square" eight measure long slow drum solo. The accents of the drumline challenges ones feel of the downbeats. On the other hand Roger also helps the listener to pick up the lost downbeats again.
The drumkit is added cowbells (E and D#). Note the echo-imitation in measure 1.
It is square 12 measure long. The phrasing is AAA (or AA'A").
/------- 3x --------\\
| A5 | - | - | - |
| I | - | - | - |
The lead vocal is pentatonic, the rhythm is syncopated, heavily dotted, moreover also heavily reverbed. The backing track consists of a pair of doubletracked rhythm guitar both eletric and acoustic, moreover bass and drums. At the end of the first and third Verse appaers the cowbell motif we heard in the Intro.
The verses are added lead guitar fills, the first Verse hardly, later Verses more.
Second Verse slightly varies the lead melody. Note the cowbell motif this time appears in the second phrase and only there. Interestingly not just the position is inverted compared to what it was in the first Verse, but also the figure is inverted.
The last Verse is reduced to only one phrase. It has the cowbell motif again, and also does the last chorus that follows it.
The choruses are not separated sharply from the Verses. The section is square 16 measures long with even harmonic rhythm. The verse-riff and it's shifted variants are carried further by the bass, rhythm guitar joins in for the last phrase, where also two part harmonies are added (by Roger).
| D | - | - | - |
| V | - | - | - |
| A | - | - | - |
| I | - | - | - |
| G | - | - | - |
|bVII| - | - | - |
| A | - | - | - |
| I | - | - | - |
The rhythm guitar's tone (left side) gets effected. The lead guitar (left channel) keeps plaing short fills usually when the melodic phrases stop.
Second Chorus adds extra falsetto "Whoo" vocals and a short lead vocal bit in the last phrase.
Third Chorus adds second harmony to that extra "whoo".
The backing track repeats a two measure riff four times, the last time the closing chord is left ring throughout for an extra four measure filled with some drum (mostly toms) figures. The tad Hendrix-esque guitar solo is added some bent notes, left hand vibratos and "coin" harmonics, melodically it's just a pretty usual pentatonic rock guitar solo.
/--- 4x ---\\
| A5 | - G5|___|(G5) - | - | - | - |
| I | bVII|...
I don't know how conscious it was, but Roger applied the classic Bridge-gambit: steering away from the home-key (to D-Major). Also the change of harmonic rhythm makes contrast.
| D | G | D | G |
| I | V | I | V |
| D | G | C | A |
| I | V |bVII| IV |
| D | G | C | D | - |
| I | V |bVII| I | - |
A:| IV | - |
The lead melody moves in a tight range of three notes most of the time. Note the tune is not inflected modally thus the bVII chord is sounds more "special" especially in the context of the G > C > A > D progression with the built in chromatic line: B> C > C# > D. Similar progression in reversed form (V > bVII > I) we can hear in Modern Times RnR.
The phrasing of the lead melody is A A" A B A' C (two measure melodic phrases).
The last phrase is added and extra let-ring-throughout measure filled with drum figures similar to what closed the solo section, but shorter.
Considering the first two phrases are opened with tonic and closed with non-tonic chords the last phrase also sounds very open, and "provokes" the modulation/resolution back to A.
Solo 2 - Outro
The harmonic backing is very simple, a four measure figure of two chords is repeated about 10 times while it fades out slowly.
/------- 10x -------\\
| A5 | - | G5 | - |
| I | - |bVII| - |
The drum part gets more busy as the end closes. John Deacon shows how to keep the bassline interesting (both melodically and rhythmically) in a however repetitive context. Brian's guitar solo with that razor-sharp tone is played in the same style as Solo 1 and all the lead guitar fills in the song. The most interesting part is the fifth circle where Brian May makes his guitar "cry".